Who are Guardians of the Sounds?
Guardians of the Sounds began with a large group of Queen Charlotte Sound residents concerned about the devastating effects fast ferry wash was having on the foreshore and people's safety. Many other issues that needed community input were identified throughout the Marlborough Sounds and, to give the community a voice, Guardians of the Sounds
became an incorporated society in August, 2000.
Guardians have become an officially recognized community and environmental group through which residents can unite and be heard by local and national government.
The Guardians Charter covers all the Sounds within the jurisdiction of the Marlborough District Council.
The first object of the Society is "to ensure that the natural environment, water quality, ecological biodiversity, safety of people and wildlife of the Marlborough Sounds and surrounds are managed wisely both now and in the future."
The primary role of Guardians is that of environmental 'watch-dog' to ensure the Sounds are managed in a sustainable way for the benefit of the present and future generations of New Zealanders.
"To Save the Sounds For Future Generations"
Who belongs to Guardians?
Members include people from all walks of life and varied backgrounds. Permanent and part-time residents. Boat owners, bach owners and fishermen. People who are passionate about our unique Marlborough Sounds environment and want to play a part in its preservation.
In which Sounds issues have Guardians played an active role?
- Shipping and Navigation
As a result of intense lobbying, MDC Bylaws were passed to limit the speed of fast ferries. The Sounds
foreshore is already showing signs of recovery
- Moratorium on Aquaculture
As a result of our involvement in this law reform and our input into the Oceans Policy, Guardians have been nominated as "key stake holders" in the Ministry of Fisheries Aquaculture Working Group
- Logging and Forestry
We have lobbied Marlborough District Council and Marlborough Roads to ban the large number of trucks hauling logs overland from Port Underwood and instead grant a subsidy to bring logs from Onapua Bay to Shakespeare Bay by barge.
Guardians members have been taking part in the Blue Cod Working Group. We continue to support and encourage new measures needed to remedy the deterioration of some of our fisheries. Guardians are collaborating with other organizations to initiate multi-party research projects where they can.
Underwater video work was undertaken by the Guardians to film the seabed below mussel farms. Plague-like populations of eleven - armed starfish were discovered. As a result, the Ministry of Fisheries has made this issue a research priority.
- Port Company Management
Guardians have helped procure an agreement for free overnight berthage for those residents with 'boat access only'.
- Resource Management Act
Guardians actively participate in RMA matters affecting the Sounds. We make submissions on resource consent applications and Council plans; attend hearings and public meetings and provide feedback to the Sounds Community on these matters.
We have laid the groundwork for networking between Sounds residents by facilitating meetings of Residents'Associations in order to foster greater communication and provide a forum for discussing issues and airing concerns.
What are Guardians' Goals?
Guardians envisage a future with an Integrated Management System involving Marlborough District Council, Residents'Associations and Sounds user groups whereby residents have a greater opportunity to participate in decision - making regarding the Sounds. We see environmental issues and problems as management issues best decided upon by those directly affected. Guardians of the Sounds will remain an independent lobby group, as it has always been.
Our goals and future activities include:
- Encouraging Research
We would like to see a 'base-line' survey done of the seabed, particularly below mussel farms.
We need to help all ages to understand the wonders of biodiversity and the urgent need to conserve Sounds' resources before it is too late.
- Sounds Patrol
Providing an 'on the water' presence to deter illegal fishing and encourage conservation of our scarce resource.
- Tackling problems by working together
The Sounds Community has identified many problems and areas of concern that the Guardians will be addressing. By pooling information and expertise, solutions are more readily achieved.
Some of these issues include:
- Navigation and water safety
- MDC planning and water safety
- Depletion of fish stocks
- Water quality
- Rapid expansion of aquaculture
- Pest control
- Forestry effects
- Waste management improvement
- Protection of wildlife and native bush
- Promotion of Maritime National Park in the Marlborough Sounds
How you can help Guardians achieve these goals?
All of us can start by setting a good example at home and at work with environmentally friendly practices.
Become a community 'watchdog' for important environmental issues and problems in your area. Network through your Residents' Associations. Call issues to the attention of the Guardians. We will help you liase with others who have experience in dealing with the same or similar issues. They may be able to offer advice or be interested in forming a working group to address the problem.
You can support Guardians by: